Ireland votes YES to repeal Eighth Amendment


The results from the historical referendum in Ireland over repealing the Eighth Amendment show a landslide victory for those voting Yes.

Many people travelled from living abroad back to Ireland on Friday (25 May) to have their say. The final results show that 66.4% of people voted Yes to dropping the Eighth Amendment, with a majority of 706,349 voters.

The turnout for the referendum was 64.1%. which was higher than the 60.6% turnout for the same-sex marriage vote in 2015.

Abortion has been officially illegal in Ireland since 1861 under the Offences against the Person Act.

Two years later, the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act brought into effect a ruling which recognised the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child.

Now that Ireland have voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, abortion is still illegal but this means that it will be easier to change the laws and legalise the controversial procedure.

The fact that so many people voted Yes perhaps also shows that the will of the people is to legalise abortion in Ireland.

Donegal: the “rebel county”

Every county in Ireland voted Yes, Dublin being the highest at 76.5%, apart from Donegal where 51.9% of voters chose to vote to keep the Amendment.

This came as a shock as it was the last county to announce their results, and seemingly went against the national trend.

Campaigners for the Yes side have been celebrating. Photos can be seen on social media of crowded rooms with teary eyes, much like those from the American 2016 Elections or the Brexit referendum.

However, many anti-abortion groups have spoken out condemning the results.

The DUP MLA, Jim Wells told the BBC that “the Pro Life movement must now redouble its efforts to prevent any change in law in Northern Ireland.”

The group Life NI described the results as “a sad and dark day for the Republic of Ireland”.

What’s next for Northern Ireland?

Many Yes voters are now calling for the laws to be changed as quickly as possible to give women abortion rights, with many eyes now falling on Northern Ireland who are expected to have a similar vote in the wake of the referendum.

Whilst some people believe that citizens of Northern Ireland will vote the same as those south of the border, many also believe that there could be a lot more campaigning against law changes due to the way the votes went in this case.